New NWMSU scholarship honors Elliott graduate

A Red Oak native and Navy veteran who is also an alumni of Northwest Missouri State University is honoring his wife’s memory with a special scholarship through NWMSU.
Denny Sapp, a Red Oak high school graduate and husband of Anne Morgan Sapp, established the Anne Morgan Sapp Dream Team Scholarship through the Northwest Foundation. The scholarship will assist students who qualify for the Northwest Promise. The inaugural scholarship of $1,000 will be awarded for the 2023-24 academic year. Anne passed away Aug. 14, 2022, after a three-year battle with multiple myeloma.
Anne was an Elliott native and a Griswold High School graduate. The Sapp’s story began shortly after Anne started attending NWMSU and meeting Denny.
“She was pledging the Sigma Sigma Sigma  sorority, and she had to get the actives signatures and came by my fraternity house, Phi Sigma Epsilon. Three of my fraternity brothers were out front and offered to help. She was supposed to meet other sorority sisters over there, but they didn’t show up, so they brought her into the house,” Sapp said.
While it was his first time meeting her, Sapp said that he was still very familiar with her through members of his own family.
“My mom and grandmother knew her family, and I had heard what a superstar Anne had been at Griswold High School. I was the fraternity house manager, and they called me from upstairs to sign the paper for her, and that was the very first time I saw her,” commented Sapp. “We differ on when I called her for the first date. I thought it was right away, and but she always said it was a few days later. In any case, we started dating in 1966, and dated for two and a half years before we got married in August of 1968.”
After graduation with a B.S. in Secondary Education, Denny enlisted in the U.S. Navy and earned his wings of gold in 1969. Upon completion of training in the A-4F Skyhawk he was sent to Vietnam for the first of three tours on USS Hancock with Attack Squadron 55.  During those deployments he acquired 376 combat missions and was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses, 39 Air Medals (of which 11 were for individual actions), 9 Navy Commendation Medals with combat V, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, and others.
Anne’s life-long teaching career began in Jacksonville, Fla. where she taught English at the start of racial integration.   
“She was 21 when she started teaching at the Nathan B. Forrest High School, now known as the West Side High School. She was teaching kids that were barely younger than her. She was one of 30 teachers in the English department.  One of her favorite teachers at the school was African American, and when it integrated, it was her first real experience with racial equality,” stated Sapp.
Denny was attending flight training at the time and once his training was complete, he departed for Vietnam.  At this time, Anne spent a few months back with her mother in Elliott. Upon his return to California, they settled into housing at Naval Air Station Lemoore for the next three years. Anne resumed teaching, this time at the middle school in Lemoore. Denny would serve two more tours before they left for their next duty station. On Nov. 22, 1971, their first child, Dee Anne, was born.
The Naval Air Station China Lake in Ridgecrest, Calif. was their next stop. At the end of this tour, Denny was accepted to fly with the Blue Angels, and they moved to Pensacola, Fla. for two years.
Denny recalled one of his fondest memories with the Blue Angels was an unscheduled fly-over of Red Oak in 1976, which was witnessed by a then 14-year-old Chris Hughes.
“We were doing an air show in Omaha, and I asked the boss if we could do the fly over through Red Oak before we did the weekend show. As we were passing over Stanton approaching Red Oak, the boss kept taking us lower and lower,” Sapp said.  “Chris said he was working at Hunt’s Super Valu in Red Oak and was walking out with sacks of groceries and was well aware of flight teams. He saw us when we flew over the square at 100 feet. He said he couldn’t believe it, and wasn’t sure why the Blue Angels were flying over Red Oak. Later, he found out I was from there. Every time I see someone from Red Oak that saw the flyover, they can tell me exactly where they were and when they saw us. I’ve always looked at that memory as a highlight.”
Another fond memory of that time was after arriving at Offutt AFB, he went to Red Oak and discovered the Red Oak Chamber of Commerce had set up a reception in his honor.  He was later joined by the other five members of his formation and gave them a tour of the town.
Following his two years with the Blue Angels, they moved to Norfolk, Va. where their second child, James Thomas, was born in 1977. Denny left active duty and was hired by Western Air Lines, and they relocated to California.  After a year in Tustin, they purchased their home in Newbury Park where they resided for seven years. Anne was employed by California Lutheran University, where she ran the learning assistance center and worked closely with minority students coming from the inner city. The final move of their career took them to Gig Harbor, Wash., where they lived for over 35 years. Anne resumed her teaching career, first as a substitute teacher and eventually as a full time history teacher where she retired in 2002. Denny retired from Delta Airlines in 2005.
While they lived in the Washington, Denny was a member of the NWMSU Foundation for many years, and he and his wife supported general scholarships at NWMSU.  However, Denny said he wanted to memorialize his wife after her passing with the Anne Morgan Sapp Dream Team Scholarship. He said he was able to tell Anne of his plans two weeks before her passing.
“Her reaction was pretty incredible. I set it up in the spring of 2022, and I hesitated to tell her, because she did not want to be in the limelight.  But I knew it was a matter of time before she would pass, and I still wanted to do the scholarship in her name,” Sapp explained “On her birthday, July 29 of last year, I gave her a card with the scholarship notice in the card, and told her what I’d done. She was really tickled about it. A couple of times afterwards she said she was thankful I set the scholarship up. I don’t think she necessarily wanted it in her name, but she was happy that a scholarship was set up in perpetuity for the future.”
 Denny recalled another time earlier in life where Anne was nominated for the NWMSU Tower Queen.
“She didn’t want to go, but she knew she had to, so she put on a long dress and went to the dance and she was named Tower Queen 1968, and she was in shock,” Sapp said.
Denny was under orders to the Navy by then. A phone call ended up being Anne’s highlight of that night.
“I hadn’t had a chance to talk to her for a few months because I was in Officer Candidate School, and we weren’t allowed to make phone calls. Even though she was named Tower Queen right before I called, she was more excited to hear from me than she was to be selected Queen.”
Denny said he’ll be back in Red Oak in the summer to attend his 60th class reunion. For more information about the Anne Morgan Sapp Dream Team Scholarship, call 660-562-1248 or visit

The Red Oak Express

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P.O. Box 377
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